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Micah Fomichev
Micah Fomichev

The Wedding Ringer

Making matters worse, Doug is a prickly blend of loser and loner and the bride has a bevy of maids in need of groomsmen. His pockets, however, are lined. Enter Jimmy Callahan/Bic (Hart), the entrepreneurial wedding solver and his booming business Best Man, Inc.

The Wedding Ringer

A comedy with a set-up like The Wedding Ringer will inevitably have some homoerotic subtext. At its core, The Wedding Ringer is a film about a guy having to choose between his wife and his new male best friend. However, there is something quite uncomfortable about the lengths to which The Wedding Ringer will go to assert its aggressive heterosexuality. The film is careful enough to include a prominent gay supporting character, serve its biggest homophobe some poetic justice, and even photoshop Jimmy into a gay wedding, but these feel like token gestures.

To be fair, The Wedding Ringer could easily play as a subversive satire of these stock gender and sexual stereotypes. If the viewer strains hard enough, The Wedding Ringer could be seen as a bitter twist on many of the conventions of the wedding comedy. However, The Wedding Ringer feels just a little bit too earnest. As crass and as juvenile as the film gets (and it gets pretty crass and juvenile) there is a sense that The Wedding Ringer really believes at least some of what it is saying.

Rather than encouraging his employees or professional associates to stand up at his wedding by promising them preferable treatment at work, Doug employs one of those magical elves who exist only in particularly desperate romantic comedies: Jimmy, a professional best man who makes the groom look not just impressive, but like a veritable superman. In exchange, he charges a steep fee, then vanishes into the mist once the job is done. But rather than hiring a group of people who might resemble the groom-to-be in age, class, education, interests, or life experiences, Jimmy assembles a multi-racial, multi-generational group of goofy, goony, Diane Arbus-friendly faces who could only have met at a later-day audition for The Gong Show.

Screen Gems has released the first Wedding Ringer trailer after debuting images last night. The comedy centers on an introverted yet successful tech entrepreneur (Josh Gad) who hires the owner of The Best Man Inc. (Kevin Hart) to be the perfect best man and throw a killer wedding party. I don't know that this will be my cup of tea, but I think this has the makings of a January hit. And I have a weird sort of admiration for a movie that lights the grandmother on fire.

Jimmy provides best man services for socially challenged guys, who - for whatever reason - have no one close enough to agree to stand by them on the day of their wedding. Doug, a groom-to-be, has found himself in just such a situation, but, to make matters worse, he fabricates the names of not only a best man but nine groomsmen as well. When all else fails, Doug seeks out Jimmy's services to carry out a charade designed to make Doug look his best, but threatens to destroy everything if it fails.

Harris needs not only a best man, but an entire wedding party, a full-service package Callahan refers to as the "Golden Tux." So he rounds up a crew of misfits that looks like "the cast of 'Goonies' grew up and became rapists," as they're described in one of the movie's few good lines. Hamhanded lessons about friendship and male bonding ensue, passed on with the grace of a grandmother being set on fire, one example of the movie's attempts at humor.

The film had Doug hiring the services of best man for hire Jimmy Callahan (the other main protagonist) to pose as Bic Mitchum, a longtime friend of Doug's. This was done because Doug didn't have a lot of friends growing up, and he made up the name in response to Gretchen asking about who his best man would be at their wedding. At some point in the film, Gretchen appears to figure out that Doug got the name Bic Mitchum from products he uses, and also realized that the names of the groomsmen were similar to notable names of Los Angeles sports legends, but Doug brushes it off to Gretchen and stated that she was paranoid, with Gretchen agreeing.

The film's climax has Jimmy marrying the couple, as "Bic" is supposedly a priest, but after the wedding, Gretchen reveals her true self-serving persona in response to Jimmy's congratulations. Gretchen revealed that she only got with Doug because he was nice and she was tired of dating jerks, and that he could provide her with the lavish lifestyle that she wanted. Her true colors were hinted before the wedding, as she manipulated Doug into using Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" as their wedding song--speaking fondly of the song and incorrectly saying that it was theirs, only for Doug to correctly state that it was part of Gretchen's relationship with one of her ex-boyfriends.

The film's climax has Jimmy marrying the couple, as "Bic" is supposedly a priest, but after the wedding, Gretchen turned heel in response to Jimmy's congratulations by revealing that she only got with Doug because he was nice and she was tired of dating jerks, and that he could provide her with the lavish lifestyle that she wanted. Her true self-serving colors were hinted before the wedding, as she manipulated Doug into using Joe Cocker's You Are So Beautiful as their wedding song--speaking fondly of the song and incorrectly saying that it was theirs, only for Doug to correctly state that it was part of Gretchen's relationship with one of her ex-boyfriends.

Doug Harris (Gad) is about to get married, but he has no one to be his best man. Out of desperation, he hires Jimmy Callahan (Hart), owner and operator of The Best Man, Inc. With Jimmy's help, he gathers an outrageous selection of guys to be his groomsmen in time for the wedding.Tropes:

  • Amusing Injuries: Doug gets bitten on the penis by a dog as a prank during his bachelor party and Gretchen's grandmother gets set on fire.

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Doris drops one on Jimmy. Doris: But let me ask you this, Jimmy. If you ever found a woman crazy enough to marry you, who would be your best man?\\

  • Becoming the Mask: Doug eventually finds real connection with Jimmy and his groomsmen and has such good times with them that he wants a genuine lasting friendship with them, which he achieves by the end of the film.

  • Berserk Button: One of the men that is chosen for Doug's groomsmen is annoyed to discover that the character he was given is paralysed, especially because he'd be unable to have one-night stands with some of the female wedding guests. This was probably for the better, in the women's expense. The wheelchair character's actor was a convicted rapist.

  • Bestiality Is Depraved: As a prank to Doug during his bachelor party, a dog is tricked into licking peanut butter off his genitals. Unfortunately the dog bites down in Doug, dies of a heart attack and they had to take Doug to a hospital. It's very awkward.

  • Camp Gay: Edmundo (the wedding planner)'s flamboyant personality is just a ruse to exploit for better business. In real life, he's actually a Straight Gay that lives with his boyfriend in a messy house and smokes marijuana.

  • Dancing Royalty: Doug and Jimmy's shameless enthusiastic dancing stun the wedding reception, who clear the floor for the two men to have their duet.

  • Foreshadowing: The movie is littered with this, and eventually comes together very neatly. The relationship between Doug and Gretchen. When Doug tries to arouse Gretchen, she immediately ignores his advances.

  • The wedding song that Gretchen chooses is from the first time that she and Doug had sex. Doug points out that said song was from the time that Gretchen and an ex-boyfriend had had sex; Gretchen has told him this anecdote many times.

  • When Doug is asked what attracted him to Gretchen all he can say is "she talked to me".

  • Doug making the Bic Mitchum character a priest.

  • Friendless Background: What kicks off the whole plot. Doug has no friends he could actually ask to be his best man and hires Jimmy to pretend to be his best man. Jimmy also suffers from this.

  • Gold Digger: Gretchen turns out to be this, though she could be considered a sympathetic example: she claims she got sick and tired of dating only meathead jerks and that she was lucky to find someone "nice" like Doug to settle down with. She doesn't really antagonize Doug or Jimmy, but it's clear she doesn't care for him enough/at all.

  • Groin Attack: Doug has a dog bite down on his crotch because of a peanut butter smear during a party game at his bachelor party.

  • Jerkass: Gretchen's father. He has an implied hatred towards Doug and uses his history of being a football player (whether in university or professionally) to intimidate Doug and his friends. He challenges Doug and "Bic" to a game with the rest of the groomsmen. When the men decline, he threatens them. Also, he showed no remorse when he and his old friends pulverised Doug and his group, and constantly bullies Edmundo when the wedding gets delayed.

  • Lack of Empathy: This applies to both Gretchen and Doug. While Gretchen acknowledges that Doug isn't an "asshole", she explicitly states that she's mainly marrying Doug because she's "sick of dating assholes" rather than showing any particular appreciation for Doug as a person. Doug himself never really cared for Gretchen, he just believed that he was lucky to have landed a girl as pretty as her. Whatever union they had wouldn't have lasted long or well, so it was probably for the best that Doug called it off.

  • Line-of-Sight Name: All of the groomsmen names made up by Doug were based on this. Bic Mitchum came from seeing razors and shaving gel in his medicine cabinet and the rest were all football players whose jerseys hung on the wall. Gretchen notices this later, but Doug is able to cover up the coincidence by claiming that he uses those items out of a sense of brand loyalty.

  • Ms. Fanservice: Nadia, who spends most of her scenes wearing a bikini top and booty shorts.

  • Mr. Fanservice: Kip Weiling. He takes his shirt off and pops his pecs during his audition for Jimmy and his friends.

  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The men that Jimmy use to portray Doug's old school friends, who are mostly strange men that either loiter around the theme park or friends of Jimmy's friends.

  • Prison Rape: One of the guys Jimmy hired to be a groomsman just got out of prison and, according to Jimmy, he raped a lot of guys in there.

  • Ship Tease: Between Doug and the stripper Nadia.

  • Shout-Out: Gretchen noticing that Doug's groomsmen all had line-of-sight names plays out exactly like a scene from The Usual Suspects.

  • Jorge Garcia says "I have a bad feeling about this flight".

  • Doug saying that all the guys Jimmy picked out "look like the cast of The Goonies grew up and became rapists".

  • Spanner in the Works: The plan hits a snag on the wedding day when the family priest is replaced by a priest who was Jimmy's high school principal, forcing the "groomsmen" to kidnap the priest as otherwise he will expose "Bic" as a fake.

  • Throwing Out the Script: A best man does this at a wedding that Jimmy and Doug go to, with Jimmy mentioning that it's a terrible idea. He immediately loses his place, forgets what he wanted to say and, somehow, ends up invoking Godwin's Law.



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